Texas J-School Practices What It Preaches

Millennials may spend their lives connected via Facebook, Twitter, and SMS, but that doesn’t mean they automatically know how to produce multimedia journalism.

In fact, most student media organizations still work out of separate offices, with the student paper, radio station, and TV staffs rarely working together.

That’s part of the reason why Texas Christian University’s Schieffer School of Journalism opened a $5.6 million “Convergence Center” last year, writes Aaron Chimbel at the Online Journalism Review. Now the newspaper, magazine, and TV station are in the same building, bouncing ideas off each other.

“Because News Now [the station] and Skiff [the newspaper] staffers were working in the same newsroom, we were much more aware of what the other one was doing than we were before,” Julieta Chiquillo, the Skiff’s managing editor in fall 2009 and editor-in-chief the following semester, told Chimbel. “Even then, we had to establish a system to better communicate.” And there’s a feeling of “competition” because of course the paper still wants to scoop the station and vice versa.

But they’re learning. It helps that the school’s done away with separate degrees in broadcast or print journalism and now just offers one program. A reporter last year did a Web video and text story which eventually became also a print piece in the paper and a segment on News Now.

The danger, of course, is the same danger at any organization that’s using pools–you have one reporter now expected to notice everything, rather than many reporters all pursuing different angles of the same story.

But let those who’ve graduated figure that out. For now, it sounds like the students are learning actual 21st-century skills from a university. Shocking.